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Cannes 2009: Roger Ebert returns, honored by Scorsese

May 15, 2009 |  7:46 am

    Critic Roger Ebert made a triumphant return to the Cannes Film Festival, looking on with pleasure today as director Martin Scorsese assisted in naming the conference center at the American Pavilion in his honor.

    Ebert, accompanied by his wife, Chaz, returned to the festival after an absence of a few years because of a battle with cancer that deprived him of his voice. His spirit and his passion for film, however, remain undiminished.

    "I love this festival. I spent seven years of my life here one week at a time," Ebert said through a computer-generated voice. "It's the best place in the world to see movies."

    Scorsese told Ebert his name had become "synonymous with the love of cinema" and expressed personal thanks for "his very strong support and comradeship and criticism. I always felt his criticism was very well thought out."

    In addition to Scorsese, guests at the ceremony included director Paul Cox, festival head Thierry Fremaux and Tom Bernard and MIchael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics. When the ceremony ended, Ebert cut a ribbon with an enormous pair of cardboard scissors that didn't look strong enough to cut a piece of paper. "Special effects," Scorsese said, and both men laughed.

— Kenneth Turan